First Responders Train at Rocky Vista University’s Healthcare Simulation Center

October 28, 2020

First Responders Train at Rocky Vista University’s Healthcare Simulation Center

[October 30, 2020 – Parker, CO]

The Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) hosted by Rocky Vista University (RVU) on October 15th was both a success and the first of its kind. First responders with Franktown Fire Protection District were not only able to practice and learn new skills in the field and in the ambulance, but also in the newly renovated RVU Healthcare Simulation Center (HSC).

From the beginning, the simulation endeavored to be as realistic as possible with the first responders arriving on the scene of a “gas explosion.” They pulled up in an ambulance to a grassy field located on RVU’s Parker campus and immediately began treating patients. Injuries included a broken femur which required a tourniquet and bleeding management; a heart attack; and a patient with abdominal trauma who required a laparotomy.

After treating patients in the field, the responders transported the injured to the HSC. There, they also participated in surgical simulations using the Cut Suit®, a human-worn body suit that contains battery-operated, blood-filled vessels and organs that accurately replicate the look and feel of actual intra-abdominal and intra-thoracic contents.  The HSC “has ambulance access and realistic ER trauma bays and operating rooms to allow for this comprehensive and realistic patient experience,” said Susan Carter, MD, FACOG, Director of the Office of Simulation in Medicine and Surgery (SIMS), which operates the HSC.

Other techniques which first responders were introduced to include a cricothyrotomy (an incision in the neck to establish an airway), needle decompression, and “IV arm” task trainers to practice drawing blood. In the multi-patient Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, manikins were also set up to simulate low blood pressure, vomiting, and obstructions in the mouth and throat. The simulation also allowed the team to practice their communications, leadership skills, team work, and knowledge of procedures while assessing patients and during transport.

This was the first large-scale simulation hosted at RVU after the remodel of the HSC and its success shows the value in and mutual benefits of an expanded healthcare simulation experience. Local partners have another avenue for training where they can learn new skills and RVU students and faculty can further strengthen their knowledge of surgical techniques.

About Rocky Vista University (RVU)

RVU is a health-sciences university based in Parker, Colorado and Ivins, Utah. RVU was founded in 2006 and opened its doors in August of 2008, enrolling students in its four-year program of study leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree in the University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM). The Ivins Campus matriculated its first class in 2017. RVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a commission of the North Central Association. RVUCOM is accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). RVU has also added a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) degree program to the Colorado and Southern Utah campuses and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) to its Colorado location. Rocky Vista University provides quality healthcare education while inspiring students to serve with compassion, integrity and excellence. For more information, visit

About Franktown Fire Protection District (FFPD):

FFPD is dedicated to delivering the highest quality emergency response and prevention in the most professional manner to the citizens we serve. We shall perform our duties in an honorable, safe, and economical manner. The members of our department shall be committed to ensuring our organization is an active and valued partner in our community. FFPD strives to deliver the highest professional emergency response while developing a safer community through quality prevention and education. For more information, visit



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